Unions call for paid domestic violence leave as domestic sexual assault surges

Family and domestic violence-related sexual assault surged by 13 per cent during 2020 according to figures released yesterday by the ABS.

Research from the Queensland University of Technology also found that more than two thirds of domestic violence service providers reported an increase in clients during the pandemic and had more clients reporting controlling behaviours.

These new statistics point to a broader increase of family and domestic violence which many experts believe has occurred during the pandemic. It also adds urgency to the call for all workers to have access to a minimum of 10 days paid Family Domestic Violence Leave.

A 13 per cent increase is considerably higher than the 2 per cent increase between 2018 and 2019.

The ACTU is renewing its call for a minimum of ten days of paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave to be included in national workplace laws to help women escape violent situations.

Escaping a violent relationship takes time and money. Unions representing frontline family and domestic violence workers estimate that moving to find a new, safe place for yourself and your family costs can cost up to $20,000 and take more than 140 hours. Federal laws currently only provide for five days of unpaid leave.

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